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What are the Different Types of Outsourcing Jobs?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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It's now commonplace to outsource offshore which means that today the different types of outsourcing jobs cover many different areas. Unskilled manufacturing jobs were the earliest kinds of outsourced work, but now outsourcing has reached knowledge-based positions in information technology (IT) and engineering. Virtual assistants, customer service representatives, writers, translators and medical transcriptionists are other types of outsourcing jobs that continue to be popular.

Europe, Japan and the United States are among the world's biggest outsourcing countries. India and China typically fill the highest number of outsourcing jobs for these nations. For outsourcing countries, the labor elsewhere is much less costly than having to meet minimum wage requirements in their own countries. For outsourcing workers, the low pay for which they typically work is more than the starvation wages often paid in their own country.

The Internet and the telephone make outsourcing possible. Companies and workers communicate and send documents back and forth through email. Job interviews may or may not be done over the phone. Virtual assistants, customer service reps, writers, translators, medical transcriptionists and technical workers are all outsourcing jobs that may be done virtually on an independent contractor basis.

Outsourcing jobs may also be traditional on-site positions. Many large corporations have divisions of their companies in overseas locations such as India and China. They hire workers in other countries to staff those divisions and usually keep their labor costs very low. For instance, in what is often called knowledge-based outsourcing, companies with overseas divisions hire engineers and IT workers offshore at a fraction of the cost of what they must often pay employees onshore in their home country.

Outsourced IT and engineering jobs include computer programmers, technical writers and other skilled knowledge-based work. Virtual assistants, customer service reps, writers and translators may outsource offshore for many different clients or they may work mainly for one customer. In order to find the best work, outsourced workers must have the needed skills and be fluent in the language of the hiring company's country.

Why outsource when workers in home countries need work is asked by many and the answer usually relates to the money outsourcing companies save on labor costs. People for outsourcing jobs often say global outsourcing and multinational work relations are positive things for the economy. Those against outsourcing usually assert that giving jobs to workers offshore makes the economy worse onshore for people needing work.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By softener — On May 03, 2011

The idea that outsourcing is a threat to the economy of countries like Europe, Japan and the United States is yet to really be seen. I don't believe outsourcing has really expanded enough for it to be a problem. It can even be seen as one of the gains from trade because in a way everyone benefits as many people working outsourced jobs might not be able to be find other forms of employment for a multitude of reasons.

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